The day before my daughter was born, I went house hunting with my mom, climbing in and out of the back of a Jeep 72 times.
My dad had recently and miraculously gotten a new job 30 minutes from us when I was eight and a half months pregnant. (This was surely divine intervention, because local grandparents are lifesavers!) After the aerobic house hunting trip, my mom stayed over at my house—just in case—because my dad and husband had gone to Chapel Hill, NC (five hours away) for the USC v. UNC football game.
It’s a good thing she stayed, because at 2:00 a.m. I woke up to a soaking wet bed. I was really groggy and not sure what was going on—at this point in my pregnancy I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had peed my pants. I wasn’t having any contractions, so I got up, used the bathroom, changed underwear, and went back to sleep. Then around 5:00 a.m. it happened again. So I got up, pulled out my copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting to read about water breaking—what it feels like, etc. I still wasn’t sure because I was asleep when it happened and in all of the water breaking scenes that I had seen in movies always involved a giant puddle beneath the pregnant woman and I had no puddle—just some dampness. But after reading up, I was pretty sure that my water had in fact broken, so I called my doctor. She told me I could take my time, but that I should get to the hospital within the next few hours.
Around 5:45 a.m., I called my husband (he was in Tega Cay, SC at my parent’s old house as a halfway point between Chapel Hill and home) to tell him he might want to get on the road. He was REALLY groggy because he kept saying, “Really? … Really?” Eventually the news registered and he woke up my dad so they could hit the road.
Then I called my church because I was the Associate Pastor and it was a Sunday and I was supposed to assist in worship that morning. That was a fun addition to my story because the pastor got to announce that I was in labor during worship—which of course sent the congregation into a tizzy. (It was funny because people kept joking about what I would do if my water broke during worship—turns out I was only eight hours shy of finding out!)
Then I woke up my mom. I told her not to rush because I still wasn’t having contractions. I decided to take a shower and shave my legs. I was so glad I did that since it would be a while before I would have the chance to shower again! I got dressed and we headed to the hospital. We wandered around trying to find the night check-in spot. I had taken the tour, but they didn’t actually show us where the night check-in spot was. We finally did find it and did all the paper work stuff—I can’t imagine what that part would have been like if I had actually been having contractions. They took their sweet time.
We finished and they sent for someone to wheel me up, which felt pretty silly since I had just walked ALL over the first floor trying to check-in and I still wasn’t really in labor yet. But I sat anyway, and up we went. I got to my room and the nurse asked a bunch of questions and then did a litmus test to make sure my water had actually broken. I would have felt really stupid if it hadn’t. But it had—whew. In the meantime, my husband was calling every 30 minutes to check in and I was still straight chillin’ because I still wasn’t having contractions and was only 1 cm dilated. It was going to be a long day.
About 9:00 a.m., they finally started the Pitocin. Because my water had broken, they had to progress my labor so that the baby wasn’t exposed to infection too long before she was born—the limit is 24 hours. Then my husband and dad finally arrived, followed shortly thereafter by the rest of the family—my in-laws, sister, and brother-in-law.
It was mostly uneventful for the next 12 hours—lots of phone calls, texts, and laughs. I was glad to have lots of family there to keep me entertained and distracted. Then around 10:00 p.m., the real pain set in and my epidural was not working. There was constant intense pain in my back and every-five-minute pain in my uterus, which I later learned is called “back labor.” Not the best memory of the day.
Then at 11:00 p.m., they finally let me start pushing. All the family had to leave, but my mom stayed to hold my hand, since my husband decided he wanted to play catcher. When the nurse and doctor found out he would soon be in medical school, they turned into teachers, and he was excited to get some hands-on experience.
The next 45 minutes went something like this: push, nap, push, nap, etc. I was so tired from the long day that I would actually fall asleep between contractions. By this time, the family had moved from the waiting room to the hallway outside my room, waiting impatiently since it had been so long. My mother-in-law and sister had their faces pressed against the door trying to hear the first cry.
Then at 11:57 pm on October 14, 2007, Taylor Grace was born. She was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches, and perfect—even with all the gook.